Great Egret

Great Egret

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Autumn extravaganza of colour

I haven't been out a lot lately....I've been catching up on some other projects that had slid too far into the background. But with the arrival of the Christmas Bird Count season (the Blenheim/Rondeau count is this Sunday) the count period starts tomorrow (Thursday) and I will be back out again very shortly to see what birds might be lurking in my territory.

A blog post I had intended to do a few weeks ago is overdue. As the title indicates, autumn is a colourful period, and right at the top of the list of my favourite times. Of course what adds to the appeal of autumn is that my birthday is close to that time, our wedding anniversary is in mid-autumn, and it always seemed that when I was working full time, autumn was the best and most convenient time to travel across the continent and explore some of the wonderful national parks and other natural areas in both Canada and the US.

I haven't been all that far away this autumn for various reasons, but I did take advantage of some great weather to explore a few local natural areas. Woodlands in particular are fun to explore. There are virtually no biting insects (but still have to watch for ticks in some areas) or people. The solitude is inspiring to say the least.

Amidst the behemoths of some woodland residents, one feels very tiny!

Old growth Bur Oak & me

Looking up gives one a different perspective.

 And colour is all around.

'Red' Oak
 Fall is one of the best times to see fungi.

And some things remain green right up until frost.
Grape-fern (Botrychium sp)

The carpet of fresh fallen leaves is impressive. They will provide an extra layer of protection for all the creatures, large and small, that spend the winter active at ground level or below. By next spring, many of the leaves will be well into the decomposition process, adding their nutrients to the soil which will benefit the growth of next year's plants.

I really enjoy the sight of freshly fallen leaves on the ground, before they turn brown and then dry up and blow away into sheltered corners or wherever. Our yard attests to this.....perhaps to the chagrin of any neighbours who like their lawns so neat and tidy. To me, they are missing out on one of the best aspects of late autumn. But in consideration of the neighbours, I try to chop said leaves up and remove them before they blow on to their yards. Our chopped up leaves are now turned into mulch on the garden, ready for the arrival of the growing season next spring.

And now our yard looks like this!

Happy winter everyone!

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